TREES in an ancient woodland are set to be chopped down as part of plans to extend a neighbouring home’s private garden.

Plans to extend the garden of a home, in Glencrofts, Hawkwell, by cutting down 25 per cent of the trees in the woodland are set to get the green light at a Rochford Council meeting tonight, despite objections.

Under the plans, a series of oak, hawthorn and laurel trees will be cut down. However residents fear this will “create a precedent which puts the entire woodland at risk”.

Many of the trees are more than 150 years old.

George Sutherland, 75, who lives in White Hart Lane which borders the woodland, said: “It is ancient woodland and we have argued that there is wildlife there to be protected.

“It is also a community area, and the tree protection orders were implemented in 1980. It is only a small land looking to be turned into a residential garden, but we appreciate it and we like it.

“We are not happy to lose what is, to us, a community area and it will prove extremely detrimental to lose that part of the woodland.

“It has already been recommended to the council by officers for approval that the applicant can trim or thin up to 25 per cent of the oak trees and laurel trees.

“It is unmanaged by the council as it is natural woodland and they are saying it has little biodiversity, not much wildlife and as such, there is no reason not to recommend it for approval.”

Residents are planning to speak in objection of the plans at tonight’s meeting.

Hawkwell Parish Council have also objected to plans on the basis that members were “concerned protected trees could be removed” and fear the area could be developed further if this application is approved.

Ahead of the development control committee, council officers recommended “consent is granted for the works” and that councillors approve the removal of 25 per cent of the occasional oak, hawthorn and laurel, species to be selected and marked up by the contractor and tree officer.